340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A picture is worth a thousand words; a parent is worth a thousand babysitters.

For a fantastic virtual trip through Oslo--the streets, the palace and the mind-bending park--I can't urge you strongly enough to go check out Steenblogen. I keep going back to look at these photos (quaintly taken with an actual analog camera, so the pictures look warm and natural) and be transported by her energetic-yet-soothing words.

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Here's an interesting article from Wired about "vlogs," i.e. video logs. They're kind like the internet equivalent of cable-access television and some of them are pretty darn cool. Good time-suckage in the lead-up to the weekend.

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I had an interesting e-mail exchange a little while ago with a couple of people, including Stéphane from Vidanges du Diable. It got started when he read an article by Richard Martineau in Voir. You can go read it, but the long and the short of it is an argument for the rationality of separate parenting. Given the intense pressures faced by parents, it becomes easier (regretfully, he notes with a 'c'est la vie' sigh) when couples separate and share parenting duties:

Non seulement ont-ils plus de temps pour eux (pour se reposer, voir leurs amis ou mettre les bouchées double au boulot), mais quand ils ont leurs enfants, ils sont souvent plus patients, plus disponibles, plus présents qu'ils ne l'étaient auparavant. Ils ne se sentent pas toujours écartelés entre leurs obligations personnelles et les besoins de leurs bouts de choux.

Of course, the article completely ignores the class- and gender- axes of these situations: parents are presumed to be able to afford summer classes, swimming lessons and after-school activities for their children, as well as wine-appreciation courses and casual socializing for themselves. Uh-huh. It's also implicit in his piece that men share fully in child-rearing responsibilities, regardless of whether the parents are together or not; men (as well as women) can just do it better when they're not married.

He's careful to not actually advocate the position, but he does argue in favour of its rationality and lucidity. Also, to his credit, he ends the article with a compelling question:

Après tout, je suis moi-même un père séparé, je ressens les mêmes choses. Mais ça ne m'empêche pas de me poser une question:

«Si c'est le meilleur des deux mondes pour les parents, est-ce automatiquement le meilleur des deux mondes pour les enfants?»

Entre vous et moi, je ne suis pas sûr de la réponse.

Maybe I'm naive, but it seems to me that if parents are actually working in tandem--y'know, as a team--then things can't possibly be easier when they separate. The whole is greater, etcetera etcetera... Sounds to me like an excuse for able-bodied, fully-employed yuppie wannabes to have their cake and eat it too.

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Female Score: 454
Male Score: 716

The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male


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